Friday, February 26, 2021
Home Specials The legend of BS Yediyurappa: The many ironies, setbacks, struggles and successes

The legend of BS Yediyurappa: The many ironies, setbacks, struggles and successes

Seemingly, BS Yediyurappa did the impossible. Bring BJP to power in a southern state.

Legend has it that when the king sent his three spoiled sons to the care of rishis in order to educate them about affairs of state, the learned sages decided to teach the young princes the path of dharma by telling them mythical stories about the forest. These tales and the wisdom contained in them came to be known as the Panchatantra.

The stories of politicians are no less than the Panchatantra, with each and every character teaching a lesson of its own. Each flawed and legendary in their own way, showing the twists, the ironies, the struggles and the lessons that we learn from life.

The most straightforward lesson is from Rahul Gandhi, the young prince who had everything given to him on a platter but could not make anything work. There are Vajpayee and Advani and the legend of NDA 1, of hard work going unrewarded and being too old to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Between the two men, a story of friendship and sacrifice. There’s Dr MMS, the man who was always at the right place at the right time and finally walked away with more than anyone thought possible.

Then, there is Modi, the child of destiny: when there is adversity, he turns it into opportunity. When he gets lucky, he turns it into an even bigger opportunity. Secretly, he is always dreaming so big that you don’t even realize he was serious all the time. And Amit Shah, who is making his own grand plan happen by sheer force of hard work and determination.

Another such story is that of Yeddyurappa, or ‘Yediyurappa’ as he wishes to be known now. A man who never had it easy.

Seemingly, BS Yediyurappa did the impossible. Bring BJP to power in a southern state. He became Chief Minister of Karnataka in 2007 itself, but only for a week. The 2004 Assembly Election in Karnataka had thrown up a hung house with BJP as the single largest party with 79 seats, the Congress second with 65 and the JDS third with 58 seats.

Sound familiar?

But then the Congress and JDS got together (as now) and formed a government under the Chief Ministership of Dharam Singh of Congress. But that arrangement collapsed in early 2006 when H D Kumaraswamy broke away, ostensibly against the wishes of his father and joined hands with the BJP. As part of the JDS / BJP power-sharing deal, Kumaraswamy became CM, a post that he was supposed to pass on to the BJP in Oct 2007 until the end of the Assembly’s term in May 2009.

But post-dated political promises are worth nothing, as the BJP found out when H D Kumaraswamy flatly refused to transfer power in Oct 2007.

There are two quick observations to be made here. First, notice how the Congress being the bigger party with 65 seats, would never even have considered giving the CM post to the JDS which had 58. That was 2004. Compare to the Congress in 2018, which conceded the Chief Ministership to H D Kumaraswamy, no questions asked. The Congress had 80 and the JDS just 37. Tells you how weak the Congress hand has become in the past decade.

Conversely, think of the “helpless” BJP of the 2000s, which got badly played by a small regional party.

Badly betrayed by fate, Yediyurappa had to go back to the people in the election of 2008. The people listened and gave the BJP 110 seats in the 224 member assembly, just enough to form a government with the support of a couple of independents.

One must take a moment to understand how remarkable this achievement was. The BJP was still nearly absent in almost 60 seats of Karnataka’s Old Mysore Region, which means the BJP effectively ended up with a score of 110 out of 160 seats or so. This shows the vote-getting power of Yediyurappa, who swept the Northern Lingayat belt of the state.

Not many remember this now, but BJP forming a government in a southern state caused a deep emotional reaction in the ruling ‘secular’ establishment which designated Yediyurappa as “Enemy No. 1.” If you think today’s lies and exaggerations about being people being forced to say Jai Shri Ram is bad, you should have seen the pressure that the Lutyens propaganda machinery exerted on BS Yediyurappa at the time. Suffice to say that their failure to prevent a pub attack by goons in Mangalore brought more bad publicity to the BJP run state government than a series of deadly jihadi terror attacks across India at the time brought to the ruling UPA.

Then, the corruption accusations against Yediyurappa emerged. Prima facie, the amounts of money involved in these accusations were laughably small in the context of Indian politics, where prominent businessmen-politicians can put the GDP of some countries to shame. But the Lutyens propaganda machinery in Delhi had found its mark and the BJP at the time was too weak to mount a serious defence. Yediyurappa had to quit in 2011, he was arrested and the BJP collapsed up in Karnataka. The party faced a humiliating defeat in the 2013 Assembly Election, briefly even losing the main opposition spot to the JDS.  Later on, all these corruption cases were dismissed by courts.

Interestingly though, the data from the 2013 Assembly election had some hidden surprises in it. The BJP had contested the election splintered into three separate factions, the official BJP, Yediyurappa’s KJP and the BSRCP. Separately, each faction had met a humiliating defeat. But if you pooled their votes together, they were roughly in the same place as they had been in 2008.

By this time, Modi had come to take over the BJP and become the Prime Ministerial face and he recognized the opportunity in Karnataka. Yediyurappa was brought back, the party reunited under his leadership and the BJP again managed to be a clear winner in the 2014 Lok Sabha election in the state.

But for Yediyurappa, things still were not easy. He had to wait all the way till 2018 for the Assembly election to happen in Karnataka. The BJP went into the election with the same “geography problem” (absence in 60 seats of Old Mysore) and ended up with 104, tantalizingly short of the majority mark. He was invited to become CM, but the Honorable Supreme Court gave him 24 hours to prove his majority. This is roughly the same amount of time as the 2-3 weeks that H D Kumaraswamy recently had to prove his majority.

Faced with losing odds, BS Yediyurappa decided to turn it into his “Vajpayee moment.” He resigned on the floor of the House, with a promise to come back and sweep the Lok Sabha election next year.

And he succeeded and how. The BJP won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka outright and a candidate supported by BJP won another, taking the NDA total to 26.  The BJP had not only won, it had overcome its “geography problem” in the state, sweeping the southernmost reaches hitherto considered impossible for the BJP. The Congress and the JDS had long been the two principal contenders in this area. In many seats, the two parties together controlled over 90% of the vote. And with the two coming together on the same side, people rejected both of them.

So now BS Yediyurappa takes oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka again. Not under ideal circumstances, mind you. And after an ugly episode of political instability that would have been best resolved by going for fresh elections. For the sake of the people of the state and the nation, we owe him best wishes for a successful tenure as Chief Minister.

Through its many ironies, setbacks, struggles and successes, the legend of Yediyurappa continues.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

Related Articles

Trending now

‘His opinion less than objective and reliable, his conduct questionable’, says UK court about justice Markandey Katju in Nirav Modi extradition order

The UK Court rejected Justice Katju's argument that Nirav Modi will not get fair trial in India, and exposed his hypocrisy

Did the Congress party pay fishermen in Kerala Rs 30,000 to swim with Rahul Gandhi? What we know

CPIM owned Deshabhimani quoeted fishermen claiming Rahul Gandhi swimming in sea in Kerala was a drama staged by paying them

I worry about Yogendra Yadav’s mental health and his The Print article on the 2021 Bengal elections proves I am not wrong

As BJP rises in Bengal, a panic attack was detailed in The Print, written by our very own Icchadhari protestor, Yogendra Yadav.

Modi govt tightens noose on social media giants and ‘intermediaries’: What it means, the effects of the provisions and how it could tame the...

The guidelines define the due diligence measures that the social media platforms will have to observe to operate in India

‘Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai is fit for Nirav Modi’: UK court approves extradition to India

"Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai is fit for Nirav Modi," said the UK judge while ordering his extradition

Govt removes safety net that allowed platforms like Twitter to not take responsibility for their misuse, officials can be penalised

If social media platforms don’t comply with the provisions of new guidelines, this will attract penal provisions under the IT Act

Recently Popular

US President Joe Biden casually drops the N-word during Munich Security Conference, accused of racism on social media

The N-word is considered as one of the hateful words that were first uttered in the 17th century. Its origin can be traced back to the Spanish word 'negro', which is often used by white supremacists to deliberately offend the African-American community.

‘Give my regards to your puppet master’, Elon Musk tells Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post when they asked him about his busy schedule

Washington Post had published a report claiming the busy schedule of Elon Musk is affecting his electric car company Tesla

Govt removes safety net that allowed platforms like Twitter to not take responsibility for their misuse, officials can be penalised

If social media platforms don’t comply with the provisions of new guidelines, this will attract penal provisions under the IT Act

Karnataka: Journalist gets death threats from actor Dhruv Sarja’s fans for exposing anti-Brahmin hate shown in ‘Pogaru’ movie

Journalist Chiru Bhat had exposed the anti-Brahmin hatred shown in Dhruv Sarja's new Kannada movie 'Pogaru'.

After 450 buildings, projects being named after Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, ‘liberals’ outrage about stadium named after PM Modi

Congress workers getting triggered over Narendra Modi stadium is amusing considering there are at least 450 projects, structures, roads, colleges, universities named after the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Naushad’s video of spitting on Tandoori Roti might be just the tip of the iceberg, several similar videos emerge on social media

UP Police is investigation to see if Naushad was an alone in spitting on Rotis he was making or there is a nexus indulged in such activities
- Advertisement -


Connect with us